Back in May I wrote that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld should be fired for bad judgment. He led the United States into a war with Iraq by clearly substituting innuendo from flakes for facts and solid intelligence. I should have also called for Vice President Dick Cheney’s resignation. Hopefully Rumsfeld knew his advice could be in error. But it appears Cheney never had any such doubts. According to The Washington Post:
In January, Cheney repeated his view that Iraq was tied to al Qaeda, saying that “there’s overwhelming evidence” of an Iraq-al Qaeda connection. He said he was “very confident there was an established relationship there.”
As you may recall when the 9/11 Commission released its preliminary findings on June 16th it stated it could find no evidence of any collaborative relationship between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. Did such a high level bipartisan finding bother Dick Cheney? Of course not! The very next day he was out asserting for the umpteenth time that such a collaborative relationship did in fact exist. He drew attention to a long since discredited report of a meeting in the Czech Republic between Mohammad Atta and the Iraqi consul to Prague, Ahmed al-Ani.
Again from The Washington Post:
As for the Atta meeting in Prague mentioned by Cheney, the commission staff concluded: “We do not believe that such a meeting occurred.” It cited FBI photographic and telephone evidence, along with Czech and U.S. investigations, as well as reports from detainees, including the Iraqi official with whom Atta was alleged to have met.
Now it appears that Cheney is indirectly admitting that he may have had his facts wrong all along. From Reuters:
The Sept. 11 commission, which reported no evidence of collaborative links between Iraq and al Qaeda, said on Tuesday that Vice President Dick Cheney had no more information than commission investigators to support his later assertions to the contrary.
So now we get this spin from Cheney’s office:
Cheney spokesman Kevin Kellems denied any conflict between the commission’s finding of no Saddam/al Qaeda relationship and the vice president’s position. He described Cheney as being “pleased” about the commission’s statement and said the message “put to rest a non-story.”
Cheney’s words have hitherto been crystal clear. He has repeated over and over again like a broken record that Saddam and al Qaeda had a collaborative relationship. But now through his spokesman Cheney is asserting tacit agreement with the 9/11 Commission. He is saying that in fact a collaborative relationship did not exist. In other words, Cheney has been lying, perhaps to himself, but definitely to Bush and to the American people all along. He sold us a false assertion based on nothing credible at all. And he did it over and over again.
I remember back when George H. W. Bush was president. I am not a praying man, yet I would regularly pray regularly that Bush Sr. would not die in office. The idea of a boob like Dan Quayle becoming chief executive scared the pee out of me, and many others.
George W. Bush is Dan Quayle in the Oval Office, just not as good looking and seemingly less intelligent. And now we know that Bush outsourced his judgment to his senior leadership and in particular the Vice President. And now it is clear that on matters of national security Cheney couldn’t or simply wouldn’t bother to discern fact from fiction. At best this is gross incompetence. At worst it is treason.
These are scary times indeed. Keep praying nothing worse happens until Kerry and Edwards inhabit the White House in January 2005. The grownups need to get back in charge ASAP.
A vice president with some decency in his soul would resign over this mess. Instead we have one who profanely tells senators to have intercourse with themselves on the Senate floor. Cheney should resign for his many bald-faced lies on this and other issues. It is clear he used his leverage with Bush to begin an unnecessary war. This is a war that has killed nearly a thousand of our soldiers and injured tens of thousands more. And it is a war that has killed at least ten thousand Iraqis, and likely a lot more.
But unfortunately Cheney can’t be fired. He is a constitutional officer. He can only choose to resign or be impeached. And we all know Bush would never ask for Cheney’s resignation. In fact, he’s such a fool he will nominate Cheney as his Vice President for a second term. This act may be the Achilles heel that loses him the election.
At least one person with balls told Bush to his face what he should have heard. I leave you with this interview with Democratic Senator Joe Biden from Rolling Stone:
Here’s what the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee says he told Bush and Cheney in a recent visit: “I was in the Oval Office the other day, and the president asked me what I would do about resignations. I said, ‘Look, Mr. President, would I keep Rumsfeld? Absolutely not.’ And I turned to Vice President Cheney, who was there, and I said, ‘Mr. Vice President, I wouldn’t keep you if it weren’t constitutionally required.’ I turned back to the president and said, ‘Mr. President, Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld are bright guys, really patriotic, but they’ve been dead wrong on every major piece of advice they’ve given you. That’s why I’d get rid of them, Mr. President — not just Abu Ghraib.’ They said nothing. Just sat like big old bullfrogs on a log and looked at me.”
He hasn’t given the president a pass in the past, either: “About six months ago, the president said to me, ‘Well, at least I make strong decisions, I lead.’ I said, ‘Mr. President, look behind you. Leaders have followers. No one’s following. Nobody.'”